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Post by Rich Moy on Mar 15, 2016 12:00:00 PM

The concept of DevOps is somewhat new to the tech world. It’s so new, in fact, that a lengthy discussion about the singular definition of a DevOps engineer took place as recently as 2013. However, as varied as the definitions of the role still are today, DevOps plays a vital support role to internal teams, involving a heavy dose of systems administration and automation. Often, these engineers possess a variety of technical skills, relying on a combination of business, organizational, and interpersonal abilities to best support the team or user he or she is supporting. We can’t prescribe a silver bullet to help you hire a DevOps engineer by tomorrow, but here are a few tips to help you do the right type of research that will help you stand out in a crowded market.

Know Where They Spend Their Free Time

Many developers consider DevOps to be a new movement in the tech industry. Not surprisingly, this has led to the creation of a few highly engaged and supportive groups of engineers online. Appropriately enough, one of the most frequented resources is called DevOps. They also turn to sites like IBM developerWorks, DZone, and PuppetLabs to share knowledge and commiserate with other people who work within the framework. Not surprisingly, the DevOps community on Stack Overflow is quickly becoming popular as well.

However, as always, proceed with caution whenever you interact with users on these sites. Their primary objective is to talk about the tools of their trade, so if you dive into tech-specific conversations about DevOps roles you’re trying to fill, don’t be surprised if you’re not-so-quietly asked to excuse yourself from the conversation. If you’re respectful of the conversations and take a vested interest in learning more, you’ll likely receive a much warmer reception.

Know the Challenges They Tackle Everyday

Without a singular definition of the position, it can be difficult to figure out what a typical DevOps engineer does on a daily basis. However, even with that ambiguity, here are three things they’re responsible for every single day.

  1. Building the deployment pipeline. DevOps teams are often tasked with scripting the application build, package, and deployment pipeline. This allows the entire organization to enjoy the fruits of continuous software integration and delivery.

  2. Continuous testing. The DevOps community tends to believe that software testing should not occur exclusively at the end of a development cycle. Instead, they prioritize testing at each stage, from the initial code integration to post-deployment. They feel that this allows them to discover potential problems long before a release day.

  3. Communicating clearly across various teams. While there is a great deal of technical aptitudes required to do the job well, it’s also important for those people to be good communicators. Often, their biggest challenge involves communicating and collaborating with a variety of teams, all of which have unique personalities. It’s often up to the DevOps team to create communication strategies that keep everyone on the same page.

Know What Gets Them Excited About Coming to Work

It’s clear that the DevOps movement is going to have an enormous impact on how technical teams get things done for the foreseeable future. While we’ve given you a general idea of what a they’re interested in on a day-to-day basis, you should also know more about the particular things they value when considering a new job opportunity. We spoke with Matthew Gundel, a DevOps Engineer for JW Player, about what would excite him about a new position.

  1. A clear vision of what "DevOps" means at your company. Gundel tells us that since DevOps still means a lot of different things to different companies, it’s important for organizations to understand what it means to them. He adds, “Is your DevOps team working like a traditional systems administration group, or focused on automation, or somewhere in between? I’ve got my idea of what I want to do under the DevOps umbrella, and I want to align with the work of my team.”

  2. A solid engineering team to work with. The primary customers of DevOps teams are the software engineering teams, so Gundel says it’s important for him to know that he’ll be working with a friendly, intelligent group of colleagues. He continues by saying, “If I know communication will be easy with teams—meaning they’ll ask for new architecture early, use automation tools, and listen to my advisements—that’s a huge plus.”

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